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Chess News: Your Daily Update - Caruana in control

IM Malcolm Pein IM Malcolm Pein
November 29, 2023


FABIANO Caruana won the Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz after defeating Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in a winner-takes-all last-round Blitz game.
Caruana ended with 21/36 points, Vachier-Lagrave was second with 20.5. Liem, Nepo and Caruana top scored in the Blitz with 11/18.
Ray Robson, the surprise winner of the Rapid section, finished bottom with 6/18.
Caruana’s Tour earnings jumped to $160,000, with MVL second in the prize money list with $72,250. Caruana’s victory ensured that, barring a miracle, he will win the 2023 Grand Chess Tour, which means that the players at the Sinquefield Cup, a 10-player all–play-all have ‘only’ the $350,00 prize money to play for.
The tournament was further diminished when Jan-Krzysztof Duda was forced to withdraw with a health issue.
Firouzja became the fourth high-profile victim of this sacrifice, but he had fought himself out of trouble before missing Caruana’s final idea.

F Caruana – A Firouzja

Giuoco Piano


1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 Bc5 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 d6 7.c3 a5 8.Nbd2 Ba7 9.a4 0–0 10.h3 g5 11.Nxg5 hxg5 12.Bxg5 Kg7 13.Qf3 Be6 14.Rf1
(The computer prefers 14.Nf1 and after 14…Rh8 15.Ne3 Qe7 16.0-0-0 followed by Rhf1 and d4 White won in Giri-Ding, Bucharest 2023)
14...Rh8 15.0–0–0 Nb8 (15...Bxc4 16.Nxc4 Qe7 17.Ne3 Qe6 was possible since 18.Bxf6+ Qxf6 19.Qxf6+ Kxf6 20.Nd5+ Kg7 21.Nxc7 Rag8 is good for Black)
16.Qe2?! (16.d4! prevents Be6 and White’s attack expands as in the Giri game above)
16...Qe8 17.f4 Nbd7 18.fxe5 Nh7 (18...dxe5 19.Rf3 Nh7! defends or 18...dxe5 19.Bxe6 fxe6 followed by Qg6 is unclear)
19.Qh5 Nxe5 20.Bh6+ Kg8

21.d4!? (An ingenious idea to deflect the knight on e5. After 21.Rf5!? Bxf5 22.exf5 wins, as d3–d4 comes and if the knight moves, then Qh5–g4+, but 21..Nf8 22.Qg5+ Nfg6 holds)
21...Nxc4 22.Rf3 Nf8 23.Rdf1 Ng6 24.Rg3 Nxd2 (24...Rh7! 25.Rf6 Kh8! gives the king a bolt hole and wins for Black)
25.Rf6 Rh7

White to play and win:


26.Rgxg6+ fxg6! 27.Rxg6+ Qxg6 (27...Kh8 28.Bg7+ Kg8 29.Bf6+ Kf8 30.Qxh7)
28.Qxg6+ Kh8 29.Qf6+ Kg8 30.Qxe6+ Kh8 31.Qf6+ Kg8 32.Kxd2 1–0 Black loses more material


©Telegraph Media Group Limited 2023

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